Communities selected to host Create Your State Tour

PRINCETON — Five West Virginia communities have been selected to host the Create Your State Tour in May.

CYS is a multi-media music performance, educational presentation and workshop that inspires and empowers creative community revitalization and development through the arts. The towns were selected based on their interest, capacity, drive and need for this type of development. Anyone from around the state and region is welcome to attend the shows and workshops in Moorefield, Philippi, Kingwood, New Martinsville and West Huntington May 13-17 from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m., which will provide a full program of immersive experiential learning and planning for leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, students and other involved citizens. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

The presentation tells the inspiring story of arts-driven community transformation in Princeton through the eyes of artists and cultural entrepreneurs Lori McKinney and Robert Blankenship. The arts are reigniting their once abandoned downtown with creative capital, reclaiming it as a cultural district that is increasingly drawing new business and tourism. Participants will gain skills, tools, and on-the-ground contacts to spark positive change and cultivate a similar scene in these communities and they will be invited to take advantage of ongoing support-resources, contacts, mentorship-after the workshop as they carry out arts-based community development projects.

The workshop features original music, visual projections and a compelling exchange about how the arts, creativity and an out-of-the-box approach can establish a creative scene that redefines and reinvigorates a community. Participants will have access to a web portal with step-by-step instructional toolkits, video shorts, and more. And they will receive ongoing guidance from the Create Your State (CYS) founders to execute community projects and plant new creative capital in their communities.

Anyone from around the state and region is welcome to attend and become a part of the conversation. The programs will take place from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. May 13 at Moorefield High School, May 14 at Wanderlust Coffeehouse and Wine Lounge in Philippi, May 15 at Preston Community Arts Center in Kingwood, May 16 at Lincoln Theater in New Martinsville and May 17 at Alias14W in West Huntington. For more information, call 304-320-8833. The program is free and open to the public.

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